We have a new leader!

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, October 23, 2007

For the first time in a very long time, there’s a new stock atop the leader board on the Gumshoe Spreadsheet!

(The spreadsheet, for those who don’t know, tracks all the picks I’ve sleuthed out in real time, and tells you which ones would have been good buys on the day the email came out, and which ones stunk — it’s linked from the right sidebar, near the bottom, and the top performers are always listed at the bottom of the page, though technical difficulties mean they don’t always show up in all browsers.)

I just updated the spreadsheet for the first time in over a month, and there are some new names at the top and the bottom … and a few dozen new ones inbetween.

Now, while Ann Sosnowski’s pick of Lynas for her Microcap Hotsheet is still a leading pick, it has been relatively stagnant lately, and has been overtaken by Greg McCoach’s teaser of Duluth Metals. One important point to note here: Though both of these picks are quite old by their respective advisers, McCoach is still (or at least, recently) touting Duluth in his teaser emails and Taipan, as far as I can tell, is no longer using Lynas to advertise Sosnowski’s newsletter. I don’t know whether she still likes it or not (I own shares of Lynas, for whatever that’s worth).

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And if you’re a big fan of the “Lake Superior Treasure” idea, the concept that the massive metals deposit surrounding that Great Lake is about to be exploited effectively by the companies in the region, then there are some other McCoach picks you might enjoy as well — he has also picked Polymet, a somewhat more established name that had an earlier run, and MetalCORP as stocks that should benefit. Both have moved up since being teased, though I think Polymet has fallen off lately, but neither has been up nearly as much as Duluth.

So what else is making it to the top of the list lately? One stock that we’ve seen teased for quite some time, US Geothermal, has been getting a lot of press attention lately as folks get interested in the concept of geothermal electrical generation — I saw them mentioned in one of the major business magazines lately, though I can’t for the life of me remember which one. They’re definitely getting credit for working in an existing and proved geothermal area, even though they’re not quite making money … or electricity, yet. If enthusiasm picks up for geothermal names, there might be something to Western GeoPower, a pick of Greg Guenthner, which is also at least partly operating in a proven geothermal area (just to be clear, they’re not nearly as far along as UGTH, and I have no idea whether the company has legitimate prospects).

To cherry pick a few more interesting names from the spreadsheet, it looks like Matt Badiali at S&A Gold Report did a pretty awesome job of picking the bottom in Jubilee Platinum (remember? This was the “Mystery island 9,000 miles off the coast of Florida?” teaser) — his ads with that teaser went out right as it bottomed around $1.45 after a fall from the $2.50 range … and it’s now back up to $2.

Other than that, you’ll see a lot of China names and solar names at the top of the list — no big surprise there, I suppose.

Any surprises at the bottom? Any bottom fishing ideas for us out there in newsletter teaser land?

Well, Go Fish has yet to go bankrupt, apparently, and I find that somewhat surprising. They remain by far the worst performer.

One big favorite of recent months that’s getting near the bottom of the list is Hsu’s pick LDK solar, which I’d only be interested in if I understood polysilicon engineering and actually toured their plant and warehouses, it sounds to me like there’s still a solid chance that their inventory numbers are completely bogus. Maybe an opportunity for those who have strong stomachs, or maybe a horrid accounting trap, I don’t know.

One of the stocks that is near the bottom of the list that has some appeal to me as a contrarian pick is St. Joe, the huge Florida Gulf Coast landowner — they can probably wait a few years to sell more land, and, as “they” say, they’re not making any more beachfront property in Florida.

Other bottom dwellers that I might take a look at are Getty Images, which was the “undervalued stock of the month” in April at $50 … and I think it was also teased as the undervalued stock of the month, by the same folks, for September or October in the high-$20s, though I didn’t actually sleuth out those teasers. Their fall from $50 to $30 was almost overnight, so I’ll have to investigate the reasons for that a little more.

And I’m also starting to wonder whether Dan Ferris’ teaser stock, Abitibi, might be worth investigating — not sure how their merger deal is progressing, or whether the company will ever thrive or make a decent profit, but they do have some valuable assets up in the Canadian hinterlands.

Other than that, the bottom of the spreadsheet is primarily populated by real estate finance, microcap tech companies, and biotech names with failed clinical trials — and not very many of the stocks teased are down by more than 25-30% or so, so they don’t appear as dramatic as the big winners. Many of the stocks on the list are still being actively used in ads to this day, so if you’re curious to see an overview of the Gumshoe universe feel free to go check them out (and let me know if I missed a stock split or anything, as I have done once or twice before).

Happy Investing, everyone.